True friends. Besties. Amigos. BFFs. It doesn't matter what you call them; they've got your back, your phone number on speed dial and your secret recipe for fancy chicken. They boast more reward points than a platinum credit card, with no blackout dates. Ever.
They might live down the hall, down the street or halfway across the world. When you're talking BFF, distance doesn't matter. The bond of friendship can't be separated by time, space, circumstance or even weight. A true friend sticks by you through thick and thin often literally as well as figuratively.
Everyone needs a good friend. The most fortunate among us have many. Today it is time to pause, and give thanks for true friends everywhere.
A good friend doesn't judge you by your (newest) hair color, (expanding) waistline or choice of (ahem) the men in your life. When it all comes crashing down, a good friend helps you fix your botched dye job, botched diet and botched relationship with equal amounts of finesse, expertise and kindness.
A true friend thinks nothing of lending you a sympathetic ear, a helping hand, a couple of aspirin, her last dollar or her favorite pair of jeans. She doesn't keep track of which one of you paid for lunch last time or how often she's volunteered to watch your kids for free even though she doesn't really like kids, except yours are okay, she supposes.
A good friend is a supporter. She augments your life whether that includes three jobs, unemployment, a husband, a boyfriend, kids, a dog or a combination of the above. She is like a bookend providing stability from the periphery. Or, like whipped cream on top of a hot fudge sundae your life might be satisfying without her, but she makes it just that much sweeter. A good friend is icing on the cake.
When you succeed, she is glad and is the first on your doorstep to help celebrate. When you fail, she is sorry and is the first on your doorstep to help dry your tears. Then, she is the first one to encourage you to dust yourself off and get up and get going again even if this involves providing a kick in the butt. And you do the same for her. Of course.
A true friend guards your secrets and reputation like they are her own. Her love is unconditional and unswerving unless you steal her husband or gossip behind her back. Duh.
A friend knows when to tell the honest truth and when to sugarcoat things. She'll admit you looked better with bangs, and even helps you trim them when you don't have time to go to the salon. She's never too busy for a quick cup of tea or a lingering glass of wine. She might tell the same jokes over and over messing up the punch line each time but it doesn't matter. You still wind up laughing so hard that your sides hurt.
True friends are a gift. They come together through a commonality of need, love, fulfillment and selflessness with a pinch or two of the-stuff-miracles-are-made-of thrown in for good measure. Friends rally together for a common cause, common good or just the chance to eat uncommonly good chocolate.
You never know when you'll meet a true friend, or even what she'll look like. You may talk to her twice a day or twice a year. She may be exactly like you or nothing like you at all. She may share your hopes, dreams, hobbies, offbeat sense of humor and maybe even your last name.
Or none of these things. What makes a friend special is the bond you share. It can't be defined in a dictionary or counted on a spreadsheet. True friendship isn't limited by time or distance because it is a matter of the heart and the heart knows no boundaries.
Thank goodness for that, and for good friends. I am blessed with many. Today I give thanks for each one. You know who you are.
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist and author of "The Do-It-Yourselfer's Guide to Self-Syndication" Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit her website at